Fathers speak out against ‘bro-code’
The fathers of two women killed in high-profile abuse cases say their daughters could still be alive if male friends had stepped in early.
Instead, abuse was able to carry on behind closed doors until both 17-year-old Emily Longley and Matamata mother Helen Meads were murdered.
Their fathers, Mark Longley and David White, are calling for action for the global White Ribbon anti-domestic violence campaign.
The two are speaking out against the ‘‘bro code’’, a code of silence between mates when someone does something wrong.
Mr Longley said there were parallels between the abuse leading up to the death of Emily and the Roast Busters case involving a group of west Auckland youths who bragged about having sex with drunk and underage girls.
His daughter could still be alive if friends of her killer, Elliot Turner, had spoken up about the abuse, he said.
‘‘Turner told people, ‘ I’m going to break her f.....g neck’. He texted one friend when Emily was in New Zealand saying when she got back [to England] that he was going to show her the rules – that you make girls scared of you.
‘‘He called her a whore in front of other people. Now I may be old-fashioned, but when a woman looks nice you don’t tell her she looks like a whore,’’ Mr Longley said.
‘‘We saw that again with these Roast Busters with their demeaning, nasty behaviour towards women.’’
He is calling on friends of the Roast Busters to confront them. Friends held the ‘‘ moral compass’’ for young people.
‘‘The message is for other men, mates of these guys, you need to step in and put a stop to it. You can curtail that behaviour before it gets to the point it did with Emily.’’
Mr White said naivety prevented him from calling Women’s Refuge to get help for Helen.
She was shot in the throat by her husband, Greg Meads, in 2009.
‘‘We were totally naive. We thought by making a fuss about Helen leaving him, supporting her in this, that we were doing the right thing,’’ Mr White said.
‘‘For three days Meads was planning to get Helen on her own. He was acting like a good man who was helping sort out the separation. But leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for a woman.’’
Mr White believes he could have talked Meads out of it if he confronted him.
Each year 82,000 reports of family violence are made to police. More than 3500 convictions are recorded against men for assaults on women, and on average 14 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners each year.
White Ribbon Day, which aims to change attitudes to violence, is on November 25.